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GP gender pay gap 'far higher' than average at 33%, finds Government review

Male GPs earn 33% more than their female counterparts, according to a major review of the gender pay gap in the NHS.

Interim results from the Department of Health and Social Care-commissioned review, published today, found the gender pay gap in general practice is 'far higher than the average in medicine'.

The results also showed a lack of women represented in senior medical grades across the NHS, with women over-represented in lower-paid specialties. 

The interim report from the review - the full findings of which will be published in September - said: 'The general practice gender pay gap is 33% - far higher than the average in medicine.'

The report also showed:

  • Male doctors earning £1.17 for every £1 earned by female doctors in the NHS, with two in three consultants being men
  • There is a lack of women represented in senior medical grades, with nearly 32,000 male consultants to just 18,000 female
  • Although two-thirds of doctors in training grades are women the number drops to less than half in consultant grades
  • Women are over represented in lower paid specialties, such as public health and occupational health, while being under represented in the highest paying specialties including urology and surgery
  • There is variation across medical specialities, with male-dominated specialties such as urology showing a higher gender pay gap

Review lead Professor Dame Jane Dacre - former president of the Royal College of Physicians - said: 'Our research shows that the gender pay gap in medicine is slowly narrowing, but with more to do. The findings of the review will help us to work with government, employers and the profession to identify and understand the main contributors to the gap, and to explore ways to reduce it, based on our evidence.'

BMA GP Committee sessional chair Dr Zoe Norris said: ‘Assuming that the review is comparing like for like, I think is surprising and shocking and really disappointing. There is no excuse for that gap, a GP is a GP, and from the day we qualify we are doing that job.

‘Gender should not make a difference, and if it is then I just think that is inexcusable. I would encourage all colleagues to look at what they are earning and talk openly about it with their colleagues, and make sure this is not happening.’

Health minister Stephen Hammond said: 'The founding principle of the NHS is to treat everyone equally, yet women employed in the health service are still experiencing inequality. 

'It’s disappointing to see that the numbers show that two thirds of senior medics are men despite more women starting training and it is essential we understand the underlying causes of the gender pay gap if we are to eradicate it from modern workplaces like the NHS. 

'Senior doctors and managers have an important role to play in breaking down barriers and championing equality as role models or mentors so aspiring doctors know they are joining a health service that encourages more women to reach their full potential.' 

The final review will identify the impact of cultural, practical and psychological issues that contribute to the gender pay gap in medicine.

The research, which is being conducted by gender pay expert Professor Carol Woodhams and analysts from the University of Surrey, involved an in-depth analysis of anonymised pay data, evidence obtained from interviews conducted with medics at various career stages, and an online survey of 40,000 doctors. 

Last year, NHS England published its first gender pay gap report, which found an average gender pay gap of 21% - as of 31 March 2017.

BMJ-funded research previously reported female GPs earn an average of 13% less than their male counterparts and face discrimination and sometimes ‘hostile' working environments.

Readers' comments (25)

  • @Mark Howson - What is the 'same' job? And who decides? We know from research that women take more sick and compassionate leave. The maternity/paternity leave allowance is also different. There is NOTHING to fix. You negotiate your individual pay rate with your employer in your contract. If you're not happy with it, you can ask for more, or you can leave and find another better paying job. As Marlow suggests, if women were objectively cheaper to hire, every job would be filled by women. Trying to 'fix' anything here would involve limiting personal choice i.e LIBERTY/anti-libertarian, and shifting the focus away from what's REALLY important - family and children.

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  • have no issue in GP as always paid the same but in hospital medicine I was told I would not employed as a trainee is surgery because I was female. that's why there is a problem now - pure misogyny and sexism at its best. I don't have a choice about having to take maternity leave to have kids but a bit of support would be nice - men do contribute 50% to the production of children. The expected norm is for the female to reduce their hours to cover child care commitments. I was lucky enough that for our relationship we did the opposite and my partner worked part time and I worked full time. I find the comments here out dated. If you are deciding to have children and ask one of the partnership to reduce their hours to cover child care then you should be compensating them for the financial loss in some format - as in contributing to their private pension or other costs etc. Its what I do for my partner - shame on you if you don't. this is about equality regardless of gender and responsibility to ones partner long term. its also about hospital medicine being anti social and un family friendly - I would see it as denying the general population of potential applicants who would be the best for the position available rather than whoever can squeeze their work home life to fit into an old and antiquated training system with long anti social hours and no fully paid 24 hours child care systems in place. everyone is losing out - not just women. I would also point out in general surveys most child care and housework is done by women in the UK still - totally unpaid - so in fact they are - in general - working 3 jobs daily rather than one. They are more likely to take on the care of an elderly relative than a male would - see the data. we are not doing all the paid jobs because we are still doing most of the unpaid ones - marlow is a poor quotation to be use based on this context and shows a general ignorance in the workload of various groups in society.

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  • How silly. You work less hours you get less pay. Our female GPs are all part time and the males full time by their own choice. They get the same rate per hour.

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  • |d in vadar | Locum GP|29 Mar 2019 2:21pm

    Being told is 1 thing, in practice is another. There's plenty of female surgeons around. If you can prove you were not hired purely because you're female then that's illegal, i.e. you can bring a charge against the hospital. My point about maternity leave is that if men contribute equally to the production of children, why isn't maternity leave treated as 'parenting' leave to be divided equally between both parents? And its not the same job contribution is it if I have 2 surgeons 1 male 1 female and the lady takes 10months of the yr out. There's no 'expected norm', just like yourself you decide as a couple who's going to make the necessary work/economic sacrifices for the choice of having kids. " If you are deciding to have children and ask one of the partnership to reduce their hours to cover child care then you should be compensating them for the financial loss in some format " I'm sorry, do you mean GP partnership? If partners in a surgery agreed to do that for one another, with limitations then sure. But if it is not in your hospital contract, then its not in your contract... if you want hosp medicine to be less 'antisocial and unfamily friendly', then be prepared for the consequences of that - less work-driven doctors. 'best candidates'? Oh you mean the ones NOT prepared or wanting to focus on their career instead of family life? I hope when you mean best you mean most competent. I fully agree that most childcare and housework is done by women, unpaid, but that doesn't mean its not valued. Its so valued that their partners' are prepared to shoulder the full financial burden of the family! I even think its more important. And that's one of the many reasons why choosing the right time to have children is not taken as seriously as it used to be.

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  • seems the obvious reasons for discrepancies as always overlooked in an obsessional drive that all must be equal. When will this "Diversity" obsessed agenda finally see reality? Clearly to address this (im)balance the answer is that males now have to do less work or those that have chosen a 9-5 option resume weekend on-calls.

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  • Garbage, the pay rates are the same.

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  • This article is classic sophistry normally employed by The Guardian to promote the victimhood agenda.
    @BAP | GP Partner/Principal30 Mar 2019 7:55am is correct. The rates are the same.
    Female doctors CHOOSE to work fewer hours and apply for less financially rewarding and less demanding posts. This is not discrimination as the article insidiously implies.

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  • CK

    I have never seen or heard anyone working in the NHS getting paid less simply because of gender , so the study must look at raw data without any other consideration; what I would like to see is more male GP ’s working part time to address the poor work / life balance that they usually face , or if you cannot afford it , consider 2 or 3 part time jobs , the pay can end up the same but not the workload, you can even combine employed and self employed to give you better control ; the beauty then is that nothing sticks so the work load drops immensely as you take less responsibility for anything because you are not there , and at the same time you help reduce gender pay gap . I anticipate that in future the NHS will be a melting pot of part t timers and self employed locums as no one will be able to tolerate full time contracted post

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  • Don't see any substance in this. Locums are paid the same whether male or female. And an important thing to remember is that today GPs male or female are in a good bargaining position workforce shortage. Some fake news at last!

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  • CK

    In order to understand how to influence something , you must understand how data is collected and interpreted . You obviously miss the point .

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